Marianne Rosenberg – Er gehört zu mir

Though it failed to become Germany’s 1975 entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, Er gehört zu mir (He belongs to me) is the song which confirmed Marianne Rosenberg as a gay icon in Germany.

Judy Garland – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

If we’re talking about music with a gay sensibility, Judy Garland’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow sums it up, and we could (and may yet) post  so many other performances by her. Judy’s enduring status as a gay icon has been much discussed, and there are so many reasons why she has a quasi-mythical presence in gay popular culture.

Dorothy Gale’s journey from Kansas to Oz mirrored many gay men’s desires to escape the black-and-white limitations of small town life — where puny minds like the Ms. Gulches of the world dictated acceptable behavior — for big, colorful cities filled with quirky, gender-bending characters who would welcome them. (Steven Frank – AfterElton.com)

Antoine Clamaran & Vince M. feat. Soraya – Feeling You

In the 90s, Antoine Clamaran was the resident DJ at the Gay Tea Dance at Palace in Paris, and then at Le Queen, and is one of France’s most respected House producers. Soraya Arnelas started out on Spain’s pop talent show Operación Triunfo, on which she dedicated her performance of I Am What I Am to the gay community, and is already something of a gay icon in her home country.  This isn’t the first time they’ve worked together, and the Clamaran magic is turning Soraya into a major eurodance star.

Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me

It didn’t take long to choose a track which sums up why Dusty Springfield is a gay icon. This song was released in 1966, a year before homosexuality was made legal in the United Kingdom, and it eloquently describes the limits of the clandestine romantic life of many gay men during that era. Her songs often made subtle references to a sexual and emotional life which went beyond the conventions of the time, and her make-up, bleached hair and glamorous image made her a hit with gay audiences.

It’s worth noting that Dusty remains one of the great voices of 20th Century popular music, and most of her performances haven’t dated.